Mueller Investigation

Trump May Not Be Guilty of Obstruction, but He Is Guilty of Arrogant Stupidity

The president heedlessly created the appearance that he was trying hard, though ineptly, to hide something.

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In detailing 10 episodes that could be viewed as evidence that Donald Trump obstructed justice as president, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report suggests several promising lines of defense, stronger in some cases than others, that call into question one or more of the three elements required for a conviction: an obstructive act, a nexus to an official proceeding, and a corrupt intent. A jury might very well conclude that the case has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

But it's not up to a jury, since the Justice Department, per its longstanding policy, was never going to prosecute a sitting president. It's up to Congress, which in deciding whether a president has committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" is unconstrained by statute or by the standard of proof that applies in a criminal trial. Democrats will be inclined to conclude that the amorphous standard for impeachment has been satisfied, while Republicans will say that Mueller's decision not to reach a firm conclusion about the criminality of the president's conduct amounts to an exoneration.

To any fair-minded reader who is not blinded by partisan bias, however, one thing is clear: Donald Trump, if he is guilty of obstructing justice, is really bad at it. Over and over again, he opened his mouth when he should have kept it shut, lied clumsily and transparently, ignored warnings from multiple advisers that his public and private actions could be construed as obstruction, and did everything he could to reinforce the impression that he was a man with something to hide.

Attorney General William Barr, who unlike Mueller has announced that there is no provable obstruction case against Trump, today emphasized that "the President took no act that in fact deprived the Special Counsel of the documents and witnesses necessary to complete his investigation." But as the Mueller report points out, you can be guilty of obstruction even if your efforts are unsuccessful, and Trump's failure was due largely to his subordinates' resistance.

You can also be guilty of obstruction even if you did not commit an underlying crime that you are trying to cover up. That is how Trump came to be credibly accused of obstructing an investigation of a crime (conspiring with Russia to influence the presidential election) that never happened, then obstructing the investigation of his obstruction. And in the end, he has no one to blame but himself.

Trump alternately cajoled and condemned potential witnesses against him (his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn; his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen; and his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort) and subordinates he thought should be doing more to protect him from the Russia investigation (FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House Counsel Donald McGahn). He did this publicly as well as privately.

"Many of the President's acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of
cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, occurred in public view," Mueller notes. "While it may be more difficult to establish that public-facing acts were motivated by a corrupt intent, the President's power to influence actions, persons, and events is enhanced by his unique ability to attract attention through use of mass communications. And no principle of law excludes public acts from the scope of obstruction statutes. If the likely effect of the acts is to intimidate witnesses or alter their testimony, the justice system's integrity is equally threatened."

Trump publicly denied making requests or issuing instructions aimed at containing or stopping the Russia investigation, such as asking Comey to leave Flynn alone or telling McGahn to fire Mueller. In almost every such case, the report concludes that "substantial evidence" favors the subordinate's account.

Trump fired Comey for refusing to publicly clear his name, even while acknowledging that the decision would look bad and probably would prolong the investigation he was trying to contain. (Mueller was appointed a week later.) He offered a completely implausible cover story for Comey's dismissal that he admitted was not true a couple of days later.

Trump deliberately misled the public about his efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, a deal that was still being pursued as late as July 2016. He deliberately misled the public about the nature of a meeting between his son and a Russian lawyer who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. He whined endlessly, publicly and privately, about the unfairness of the "witch hunt" that Mueller was conducting and Sessions' failure to protect him from it. He ignored his lawyers' entreaties to stop commenting on the investigation because it was hurting his case.

Although it turned out that Trump was telling the truth when he denied illegal "collusion" with the Russians, that does not mean his attempts to undermine the investigation could not qualify as obstruction. "Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect non-criminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area, or to avoid personal embarrassment," Mueller notes. "The injury to the integrity of the justice system is the same regardless of whether a person committed an underlying wrong. In this investigation, the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. But the evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the President's conduct. These include concerns that continued investigation would call into question the legitimacy of his election and potential uncertainty about whether certain events—such as advance notice of WikiLeaks's release of hacked information or the June 9, 2016 meeting between senior campaign officials and Russians—could be seen as criminal activity by the President, his campaign, or his family."

On the question of whether a president's obstruction of justice can include the exercise of his Article II powers, such as the hiring and firing of executive branch officials, Mueller firmly disagrees with Barr, saying a corrupt motive can make such acts criminal. Barr, by contrast, argues that Trump legally could have fired Mueller or ordered an end to the investigation, regardless of his motive, because the Constitution gives him that authority. But Barr says he did not evaluate the obstruction case against Trump based on that premise, and much of Trump's suspicious conduct—including his public lies and his apparent efforts to influence what Flynn, Cohen, and Manafort told investigators—does not fall into this category.

The obstruction case against Trump is not conclusive. In fact, his indiscretion and ineptness could be seen as evidence that he did not think he was breaking the law. But at the same time, he recklessly created the appearance that he was guilty of something, disregarding sound legal advice from people who knew better. If arrogant stupidity were a crime, Trump would be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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169 responses to “Trump May Not Be Guilty of Obstruction, but He Is Guilty of Arrogant Stupidity

  1. In a season of stupid takes, this is one of them.

    1. So spicy.
      “He tried to obstruct justice, he was just too incompetent to do so under the actual definition of the term!”

      1. The bitterness and butt hurt over Trump not being guilty of anything drips from every word of this piece.

        You would think finding out that the President didn’t collude with a foreign enemy and was very cooperative with the investigation would be a good thing. But, for Sullumn it just stinks that Trump isn’t the crook he so desparately wanted him to be.

        These people are just pathetic.

        1. “The president heedlessly created the appearance that he was trying hard, though ineptly, to hide something.”

          Yes, the man… If we can call him that… Was trying to hide the facts that he has neither a dick, nor a spine, nor self-respect, nor a conscience!

          1. Do you need a hug? You seem to be really having a bad day.

            1. A hug isn’t so much what I need, but rather, politicians… And majority voters… Of ANY party… That have the BAREST hints of decency and humility! To include respect for individual freedoms! And I just don’t see very much of these things going around!

              1. Yes, everyone who has a different opinion from you has no decency or humanity. You have a monopoly on those qualities.

              2. You mean like the anti-Semites and socialists that dominate the Left now?

                1. Neither the left nor the right nor the supposedly middle-oriented or the libertarians has yet set me free from the Cheap Flute Police. This is just ONE small sample of the utter tyranny or the petty tyrants! WHO will set us free? It sure doesn’t look like Trump will set us free!

                  To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

              3. What’s the matter, SQRLSY One? Didn’t that sweet, innocent, little Hillary Clinton get elected? I’ll just bet that had SHE been elected, Russian interference would have been nothing but a footnote to the presidential election.

        2. And they ignore that Mueller had some partisan-as-all-hell Democrat prosecutors doing everything possible to find SOMETHING…and they failed.

          It’d be like giving Mark Levin full access to all of the info involving Hillary’s emails and him coming up with squat. This wasn’t an impartial investigation. It was a partisan witch hunt, run by prosecutors with few qualms of just obliterating the rights of defendants.

          But, because ORANGEMANBAD!, Reason has to side with the prosecutors.

          1. Right you are! The whole thing is a sick joke.

        3. And Trump played them, the media, the Never-Trumpers, the Democrats, he played them all like a harp from hell.

      2. I love Trump’s “arrogant stupidity”. I used to find it repulsive. But with Trump’s “arrogant stupidity”, the economy is booming, unemployment is at 50 year lows, NATO is paying its fair share, America is once again respected abroad, we have fairer trade deals, Obozocare is dead (even if it’s too stupid to fall down), gun control is DOA, government regulations are in decline…

        Give them THAT kind of “arrogant stupidity” any day!

        1. What really counts for you is that right-wing bigots are being appeased, temporarily, by our president, and feel free again to try to treat brown people, gays, blacks, and Muslims like dirt.

          1. What you fail to understand because you are too stupid is that under Trump’s presidency, absolutely everyone in the country is better off. There are many other factors BambiB did not mention including record highs on the stock market, peace on the Korean peninsular, no more foreign wars with the probability of troop withdraw from existing wars. Trump has achieved more in just over 2 years than Obama achieved in 8, which isn’t difficult considering he achieved absolutely nothing.

          2. What makes a “black” different from a “brown person”? Is it their lack of personhood?

        2. “America is once again respected abroad.”

          Irishman here who has lived in both Asia and the Middle East since Trump took office.

          I don’t know what abroad you’re referring to, but from my vantage point Trump is reviled in all three continents (if you count Arabia as a continent, which it should be) and respect for America is at its lowest ebb since the Iraq war.

          1. Where in the middle east?

    2. Just when you thought Sudderman was going to win the day for dumbest take, Sullumn says “hold my beer”.

      1. To any fair-minded reader who is not blinded by partisan bias, however, one thing is clear: Donald Trump… did everything he could to reinforce the impression that he was a man with something to hide innocent.

        FTFY

    3. I couldn’t even make it to the second paragraph.

      1. Better than me, I couldn’t get past the headline without thinking “Trump has been guilty of arrogant stupidity from the second he declared himself for the 2016 GOP nomination. Tell us something we don’t already know.”

        1. Trump has been guilty of arrogant stupidity from the second he first entered the world of business as a young man.

          FTFY

          1. Its clearly worked out well for him, so maybe he’s not as stupid as you think.

            1. All Hail to THE Pussy Grabber in Chief!!!

              I fundamentally think that a huge percentage of Trump voters (who bothered to study up in the slightest) voted for a Pussy-Grabber in Chief who would pussy-grab for them, on behalf of them and theirs! If PGC (Pussy-Grabber in Chief) could pussy-grab the people whose loans he defaulted on, people who’d been ripped off by his “school”, and illegal humans who’d worked on building his buildings, and on and on, then SURELY the PGC can grab some pussy for us selfish, short-sighted voters! We can pussy-grab our international trade partners, and other nations, races, and creeds in general!

              These voters simply cannot or will not recognize the central illusion of politics… You can pussy-grab all of the people some of the time, and you can pussy-grab some of the people all of the time, but you cannot pussy-grab all of the people all of the time! Sooner or later, karma catches up, and the others will pussy-grab you right back!

            2. Its clearly worked out well for him, so maybe he’s not as stupid as you think.

              Is it clear? Have we seen any evidence that he’s been as successful as he claims? He certainly hasn’t shown many signs of being capable of honest self-evaluation.

              Anyone who has any significant experience on the business-end of construction recognizes Trump’s type. It doesn’t scream “success.” It screams “dishonest huckster who might just be parted from considerable sums of money as long as he doesn’t randomly pick a fight with you so you both lose money.”

              I’m reminded of one of my favorite lines from The Aviator: “I lose money. It’s what I do.”

              1. Well, for one thing, he became President. Given how many people try at that and fail, something’s clearly working out well for him.

          2. And what is in YOUR bank account??

            1. He who dies with the most toys (and money), wins? And ethics and morality and self-respect be damned?

              What is it worth to you, if you win the world, but lose your soul?

              1. Considering he had Mueller crawling around in every aspect of his life for the last 2 years and yet Mueller could find nothing to prosecute him on, I’d say either Trump is a criminal genius who has been able to hide all of his past transgressions, or Trump is the cleanest president America has had in decades. You can’t have it both ways.

                1. Actually in their minds they do have it both ways, to them he’s a brilliant idiot, who’s guilty of being innocent.

    4. And no, I do not disagree that Trump is arrogant and acts stupidly. The claiming Trump created an appearance of anything in this case is dumb as hell.

      The entire thing was hey ginned-up, partisan attack from the get-go. We know this because the people who judge ended up told us so. They announced their intentions in the New York Times shortly after the inauguration. The entire point was to sabotage the incoming Administration and try to get an independent counsel investigation and impeachment proceedings.

      The investigators knew very early on that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. In fact, they had many months of wiretap that would have shown any such collusion. So everything you were told early on about how 23 federal agencies agreed that they colluded with the Russians was a lie.

      It is not even remotely surprising that the boss would want to wrap up a expensive and distracting investigation that had already reached the conclusions that it was ostensibly created for. They spent another year-and-a-half trying to squeeze people into giving up some dirt on Trump by Prosecuting them. But not one bit of that had anything to do with Russia or Russian collusion or Russian interference in the election.

      In fact, look through the report for anything they found out in the last 12 months. Anything at all from the last 12 months about Trump and Russia. There’s not one thing in there that I can find about it. Everything about that comes from very early on. Most of it predates Mueller even being hired.

      This is how you know that the entire thing is only being viewed through a partisan lens. They lost on every single point. But now they have all pivoted to something completely new. An obstruction of justice case where everyone involved knows that there was nothing to obstruct. Any libertarian worth his salt would be outraged at such a stupid process crime. This is the same as being arrested for resisting arrest. And the allegations are equally stupid. Asking your subordinates how you can wrap up an investigation that has clearly run its course and is now simply floundering about looking to ruin people would be considered doing your job at a bare minimum in any other circumstance. But because the objective was not to look into Russian interference, but rather to try and get Trump, then anything he has to say about it suddenly, magically becomes interfering with an investigation.

      Dumb take. And quit making me defend this idiot. It makes my brain hurt. I don’t want to be on the same side with these morons.

      1. Any libertarian worth his salt would be outraged at such a stupid process crime.

        Very true. And I think actual Libertarians are outraged by this.

        1. Actual libertarians, at least here, are in short supply.

        2. to the extent i outrage, yes.

      2. We should not preface comments with “Trump is stupid, but…”

        It’s uncalled-for. Until there is something resembling partisan balance in the expectation on such cheap shots, the expectation that they be made is part of the problem.

        1. That’s why I put it at the end!

          To be sure, there are a lot of legitimate comments being made. But I am honestly, truly tired of being backed into the position of ending up on Trump’s side. I would much rather be talking about issues of policy the impact libertarian issues, but instead they keep throwing stupid up. And then you feel compelled to point out that the stupid that they threw up was stupid. And then you end up on the same side As Trump. And everyone assumes that you support Trump. Even though you voted for that joke of a Libertarian candidate last time. Proudly voted for that libertarian candidate!

          1. How about his “libertarian” vice-presidential running mate? Are you proud of casting a vote for an avowed Hillary loving dipsomaniac?

          2. but instead they keep throwing stupid up. And then you feel compelled to point out that the stupid that they threw up was stupid

            Compelled is the correct word. It feels like the same tactic used to prevent the comentariat here from having any conversation about the merits of Kavanaugh as a judge because of the continuous need to defend the English language by pointing out that “credible” has an actual meaning and that vague, unverifiable accusations do not meet the standard to use that word.

            Now suddenly, ranting and pissing and moaning about being persecuted and threatening to fire people who work for who seem to be aiding and abetting the persecutors is no way to behave when you are actually being persecuted? Fuck off Sullum. To be sure, you will never be president, so we will never have to watch you cry like a whiny little bitch when these bastards turn on you and tear you down.

            1. It feels like the same tactic used to prevent the comentariat here from having any conversation about the merits of Kavanaugh as a judge because of the continuous need to defend the English language by pointing out that “credible” has an actual meaning and that vague, unverifiable accusations do not meet the standard to use that word.

              That is a real peeve of mine. The truth is Kavanaugh was a shitty pick for a lot of reasons. I wish the Senate had voted him down for being a shitty pick. But thanks to the Demcorats deciding to slander him as a rapist, there was no way they could debate much less reject Kavanaugh for his qualities as a judge. Basically, they had to confirm him to keep from giving credence to the bullshit that the democrats were spewing. God, that makes me angry.

          3. Thumbs up, Cyto. You said what I would have said—and I’m sure much better!

        2. Why should “we” care about “partisan balance in cheap shots”?

      3. Agreed. This was a really weak article — which is becoming the norm at Reason, sadly.

        Trump had every right to shut down the investigation on the grounds that he thought it was a waste of taxpayer funds. He would have been right. He would then be accountable to the voters.

        Consider how dumb the theory that the President can obstruct by using his Constitutional power over Comey. So, according to Mueller, once there is any kind of FBI investigation into the Trump campaign, or a special counsel appointed, that Comey cannot be fired except for specific reasons? Determined by who? The courts? Nope. Separation of Powers. Congress?
        Same issue. Textual commission of a power to one branch ends the inquiry.
        Could Comey sue to be reinstated? The system provides absolute discretion to the office of the President. It is retarded that this is an “episode.”

        Trump deserves criticism for not firing Comey on day one. You can blame idiots like Flynn for (a) speaking to the FBI instead of invoking the 5th and (b) lying to the FBI to cover up nothing. Blame Trump for hiring Sessions, who is an utter incompetent. Sessions basically caused all of this by recusing himself over nothing and then not resigning early on when it became clear that his recusal was harming the country.

        Trump clearly lacked a rolodex to staff an administration and gave out positions to political supporters. He also doesn’t listen. He is to blame for creating this situation. But the investigation was unnecessary, poorly designed, and dishonestly and politically run. A black eye.

        1. If the President can’t fire the AG or head of the FBI, and Sullmn seems to think he can’t, then DOJ is effectively an unaccountable secret police. That is a curious “libertarian” position don’t you think?

          1. Not that curious when you realize that reason is not a libertarian publication and Sullum is a progressive.

      4. I don’t want to be on the same side with these morons.

        Assuming the ability to side with transcendentally enlightened beings is out the window, I generally side with some morons against other bigger morons.

      5. But they succeeded in poisoning US-Russia relations for the foreseeable future. Stephen Cohen had this figured out a while back.

      6. That’s kind Mueller’s style, history etc.

    5. “The president heedlessly created the appearance that he was trying hard, though ineptly, to hide something.”
      i.e.,
      “My TDS induced believed in delusional conspiracy theories is Orange Man’s fault! Orange Man Bad!”

      Today is the clowniest the clown show at Reason has ever been, by a factor of 3.
      Honk Honk

    6. Reason is LYING.
      And everyone sees that you are LYING.
      LYING BULLIES that have all picked on one kid in class and harassed a democratically elected president – because what the self-entitled media class wants is more important than what the voting public voted.

      They have used every dirty trick going – law, intelligence agencies, investigations to bully and harangue an innocent man that they did not choose. DISGUSTING. You should all be jailed for what you have done.

      See comments for this article unmodified on Dissenter https://dissenter.com/discussion/begin?url=https://reason.com/2019/04/18/trump-may-not-be-guilty-of-obstruction-but-he-is-guilty-of-arrogant-stupidity/

    7. Yeah. Can’t even claim it is an abnormally stupid take. More of a dull one.

  2. He Is Guilty of Arrogant Stupidity

    As is every other politician and pretty much every journalist for that matter. Like we needed a report to know this anyway.

    BFD.

    1. Sullumn spends an entire collumn to tell us that Trump is like pretty much every other politician in history. Paradign shifting news for sure.

      1. Meanwhile, nary a word on Herr Mueller’s arrogance and his checkered past: re his contribution to the continued wrongful incarceration of Joe Salvati for the murder of Edward Deegan.

        You know something? In the past 2 years, I have not heard or read one word from Mika or Joe or Chris C. or Jake or the Rev. or Maggie Haberman or Joe Costa or Don lemon or Rachael or Chris M.on Mueller’s role in the above.

        Must be a coincidence.

    2. IF arrogant stupidity was a crime, the mainstream media would all be dead by electric chair.

      Reason is LYING.
      And everyone sees that you are LYING.
      LYING BULLIES that have all picked on one kid in class and harassed a democratically elected president – because what the self-entitled media class wants is more important than what the voting public voted.

      They have used every dirty trick going – law, intelligence agencies, investigations to bully and harangue an innocent man that they did not choose. DISGUSTING. You should all be jailed for what you have done.

      See comments for this article unmodified on Dissenter https://dissenter.com/discussion/begin?url=https://reason.com/2019/04/18/trump-may-not-be-guilty-of-obstruction-but-he-is-guilty-of-arrogant-stupidity/

  3. Projection is a terrible thing.

    1. Reason is LYING.
      And everyone sees that you are LYING.
      LYING BULLIES that have all picked on one kid in class and harassed a democratically elected president – because what the self-entitled media class wants is more important than what the voting public voted.

      They have used every dirty trick going – law, intelligence agencies, investigations to bully and harangue an innocent man that they did not choose. DISGUSTING. You should all be jailed for what you have done.

      See comments for this article unmodified on Dissenter https://dissenter.com/discussion/begin?url=https://reason.com/2019/04/18/trump-may-not-be-guilty-of-obstruction-but-he-is-guilty-of-arrogant-stupidity/

  4. Reason’s writers are really doing the Desperation Samba today. “Trump’s guilty becuz he HAS to be!”

    1. It is comical. Trump is guilty of trying to obstruct justice, by doing things that he had every legal right to do, but deciding not to after his staff advised against it is Sudderman’s take.

      Now Sullumn tells us that Trump is guilty of well something.

      1. It’s like watching Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner. No matter how times he falls off a cliff, has a giant rock fall on him, or is hit by a truck that comes out of a tunnel he painted, he still desperately chases a scrawny bird that’s little better than an appetizer.

        1. It is just sad. I don’t agree with Reason when they go after Trump over trade and immigration, but I cannot claim they are betreying any of their principles or previous positions. They don’t agree with him and criticize him on that.

          Why they seem so incapable of being fair minded about this is beyond me.

  5. Pointless mumbo jumbo. You still mad bro?

  6. Trump fired Comey because Comey tried to blackmail him with the steel dossier nonsense. Comey admitted he went to trump and said, there are bad things written about you by an trusted intelligence source, you need to start cooperating with us if we are going to protect you because this could make your job impossible if it got out regardless of its merit. miraculously the entire report was published just days later. it was a classic shakedown.

    if jacob sullum had any ethics at all he’d be outraged at the deepstate’s attempt at a palace coup of lawfully elected president of the united states.

  7. Leave it to a “libertarian” site to dig deep for narratives as to how someone unfairly escaped the state’s frivolous actions against him.

    As for Trump, does anyone seriously think he should have treated the investigation as though it was being performed in good faith?

    1. The reason staff has been carrying water and repeating various LE and intelligence community talking points on this since the begining.

      The person who comes out looking the best in this is Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald is a socialist and I frankly can’t stand him. But, he has flat out acted with real courage and principle on this issue.

      What makes reason’s performance so appalling is not that certain members of the staff chose to sell out their princples and carry water for the FBI and CIA. It is that every member of the staff did so. On an obstensively “libertarian” magazine, not one staff member had the integrity and courage that Greenwald showed.

      Hell, they don’t even have someone who has the integrity of Matt Tiabbi, another person I can’t stand but who was honest and destroyed the media’s handling of this.

    2. does anyone seriously think he should have treated the investigation as though it was being performed in good faith?

      Yes, the same people who like Bill Weld.

        1. a/k/a Popehat.

      1. “Yes, the same people who like Bill Weld.”
        Both of them? Are you sure?

  8. I don’t remember typing motherjones.com into my computer, but I somehow wound up at the site nonetheless.

  9. Didn’t Don Jr tesitfy that Trump Tower project was still ongoing?

    I hear this a lot, but did Trump mislead the public on the meeting with the Russian lawyer? He repeated son’s claim that it amounted to oppo research. Nothing illegal ever took place.

    As a president who yields power, Trump has to be held to a higher standard than a generic innocent man who might rail against the prosecution and does things that invite suspicion. But that in no way minimizes the fact that your government spent 2 years on a politically motivated probe based on nothing. On the actual collusion charge, Mulleler had nothing.

    Yeah, the government has a history of cracking down on individuals for no reason. But this is on a different level. Because now if democrats don’t like a certain policy, they can try to remove it by launching investigations on those who (even appear to) propose it. We saw it here, we saw it with Kavanaugh, etc.

    If the media and honest people don’t call this out, the country will continue down on a dangerous path.

    1. There are some who are claiming that this whole thing was at least partially motivated by the IC’s desire to get Flynn. I think that might be right. Flynn, when he was in charge in Iraq, cut out Washington from the intelligence loop and set it up so intelligence was fed directly to the units on the ground instead of going to Washington to be “analyzed” first. The IC community hated his guts for that. Flynn also started questioning just what the hell the CIA and NSA was doing with their black budgets and wanted them to show they were accomplishing something for the money.

      So, they got the FBI to set him up with a perjury trap. Then had Mueller run him into bankruptcy and threaten his family with prosecution if he didn’t plead guilty. But “libertarians” like Ken Dopehat White think that is just a ok.

      1. The fact that this take is being completely ignored, even in comment sections, looks to me like it’s hitting too close to home for some people.

        1. Possible, but you’d have to look at when Flynn first got involved with Trump.
          Brennan hatched this coup idea at the end of 2015. Everything – EVERYTHING – was a set up from the beginning.
          There was never an investigation, there was a plan. And this has been obvious from the first moments.
          So, if Flynn had joined up with Trump at that time, it’s possible he was a, not necessarily the, target.
          But the 3 main targets, in my estimation, were:
          3. Russia
          2. Trump
          1. The People
          Obama’s reign was supposed to usher in true one-party, bureaucratic (as opposed to representative) rule.
          They intended to cast Trump as “the people’s champ who loses” thereby convincing, decisively, The People to stop thinking of themselves as citizens but rather subjects forever.
          And THAT is the war still being fought.

    2. Trump misled the public about something political? Outrageous! Didn’t Eric Holder make a cottage industry of obfuscation? Where is the outrage there? The Fast and Furious scandal was 100x worse than anything in this report and nothing came of it. The political targeting by the IRS, similarly so. This is just political theatre and it now has blown up.

      The only question I have is whether the Democrats as so stupid as to try and seize on the nothingburger and have hearings and impeachment resolutions in lieu of attempting to govern? Will they take the bait? If so, I think they lose the House.

      1. Holder lied so often and so seriously to Congress, he was held in contempt. It is easier to list the Obama cabinet members who didn’t lie to Congress than list the ones who did.

  10. One could almost imagine that dragging this out as long as it was dragged out was an effort to provoke him into actually interfering.

    Not unlike how if the FBI has nothing really actionable for prosecuting someone, but they still want to make an example of them thus they drag the victim into a room and ask them questions for hours until they finally slip up on something innocuous or unrelated.

    1. One could almost imagine that dragging this out as long as it was dragged out was an effort to provoke him into actually interfering.

      It’s starting to look like that was the plan when they couldn’t find anything of substance early on. Go after subordinates or former associates for unrelated process crimes in the hope that Trump would do something allowable but optically bad like fire Mueller, thus providing the justification for impeachment.

      Except Trump either didn’t take the bait, or followed the suggestions of his advisors and left things to take their course. Barr comes in, sees that the counsel isn’t actually working in the interest of its original mandate anymore, and tells them to wrap it up. He allows Mueller to provide feedback on the original summary, but Mueller demurs.

      I’m excited for when the House Dems drag Mueller in to grill him on why he didn’t get that impeachment they were so desperately looking for.

      1. Watching them go after Mueller after spending two years claiming he was the last man standing between America and tyranny is going to be fabulous.

        1. That’s almost the funniest part of this whole affair. The speed in which the media and the Dems turned on Mueller for not finding something which was not there in the first place was incredible. For over 2 years they touted his integrity and even attempted to pass a bill to protect him despite the fact that this would have overstepped their authority since Mueller was appointed by the FBI which falls squarely within the executive branch. Any move by congress to protect Mueller’s investigation would have absolutely been unconstitutional.
          Now look at how the media and the Dems are treating Mueller. They actually want to haul him before congress to interrogate him over why he could not find any crime by Trump. Mueller has fallen out of favour because he did not give them what they wanted.

    2. To any fair-minded reader who is not blinded by partisan bias, however, one thing is clear: Donald Trump, if he is guilty of obstructing justice…

      In case you missed my comment elsewhere in the thread, fuck you for the “To any fair-minded reader”. If your blog is worth reading, wouldn’t fair-minded readers be the ones coming to read it? This is one of those “don’t open your mouth and prove that you are a condescending prick” moments.

  11. but He Is Guilty of Arrogant Stupidity

    I always contended that Trump wasn’t that bright, but after he put a bunch of college educated people in 3d Chess Check, I’m questioning that.

    1. I don’t think Trump is stupid. I have no idea how “smart” he is but he certainly isn’t stupid. Since moving into politics, however, he looks like a super genious because the media and political class are so stupid even someone with average intelligence and some courage can make them look foolish.

      1. I think the “some courage” part is especially important. Someone once said that Republicans’ favorite exercise is running for the hills. Now the party has a president with the stones to challenge the Left and the media, and that’s all it took to put them all in shock.

        1. Since the left owns the culture and the media, they never have to learn how to defend their positions. They can just assume everything they think is right and everyone who disagrees is just a bitter clinger. As a result of this, they have lost the ability to defend their positions and are left defensless when someone is willing to challange them. All they have is the power to shame. When faced with someone who truly doesn’t give a shit what they think, they have lost their minds.

          1. Only someone with a strong “asshole” aspect to his personality could have thrived under the constant beating Trump is subjected to.

          2. This is absolutely true. You just have to watch a few You Tube videos of conservatives approaching people on anti-Trump marches and asking them to defend their opinions on why they believe things like ‘Trump is a racist or a sexist’, or why illegal immigrants should just be allowed to walk over the border without anyone stopping them or even challenging them.
            The vast majority of them walk away because they cannot defend themselves against reasoned debate.
            It often makes me wonder how these people manage to dress themselves in the morning.

      2. Trump is not stupid. But the Libs typical approach is to preposition their opposition as stupid so as to clear the field to take the ‘moral high’ ground. They are just upset it does not work this time because Trump does not care about, or the cocktail circuit or being best buds with half of DC. A$$holes come out on top for a reason.

      3. He is far more intelligent than people give him credit for.

        His plan to move illegals to sanctuary cities is one of the most brilliant political moves in history. Force them to live up to their professed morals without impacting the electoral college OR force them to admit that they were lying about the benefits of illegals for years.

    2. I’ve given up second-guessing Trump. Every time I thought, “uh-oh, he’s really stepped in it now,” he survived, and usually he came out stronger.

    3. Trump is smarter than any of the people mocking him. I am laughing my ass off! Two years ago had you told me I would be supporting Trump I would have puked. Now I am excited to vote for him in 2020. He isn’t perfect by any means, but he has outplayed em all. And he hasn’t even gotten started yet.

      TRUMP 2020!

      1. I hear ya, brother.

        Two years ago, I never would have imagined voting for Trump. I was with him on a few issues, but too far away on most—and, of course, on principles. Once he was elected, though, I figured we would have an opportunity to see how someone of a far different background and temperament than those who came before in the presidency would fare.

        And then the antics of his opposition (some of whom are family and friends) so disgusted me that I plan to vote for him in 2020.

        If there is no recession between now and Nov. 2020, he will likely be re-elected.

  12. Do we just put down the memory hole that both the Dems and the GOP partisans thought Comey should be dismissed for his strange handling of the Clinton e-mail investigation, right until Trump fired him?

    1. No, we shouldn’t.

  13. Trump survived a coup attempt and is now going to reap political rewards. Could a more normal president make out better? The only similar case in my adult lifetime was the Patrick whatshisface investigation of the fake spy’s name being leaked. Bush suffered serious damage from that, partly because the fake spy was right and he was wrong, but mostly because he didn’t understand the special counsel was out to get him and let him control the narrative.

    1. Bush let Patrick Phatshisface do whatever the hell he wanted. It didn’t turn out well but at least it didn’t last that long. Clinton OTOH wouldn’t let any of his 27 chefs talk to Starr without an entire law firm present. That dragged on 6(?) years and resulted him being porker shamed. Trump seems to have done comparatively well.

  14. No shit. He’s a politician.

  15. Also, considering with what slight pretext a lying to investigators charge can be hung on, resisting an investigation should be the normal reaction.

  16. This is where we desperately need one of Matt Welch’s or Tim Cavanaugh’s old school critiques of the media.

    1. In many ways Reason has not recovered from losing Cavanaugh. I think Cavanaugh was somewhat of a moderating influence and by far their best writer.

  17. My favorite part of this column is that a guy who writes about weed for a living is pretending to be a very serious and distinguished legal analyst.

  18. Definitely agree with the headline.

  19. The president heedlessly created the appearance that he was trying hard, though ineptly, to hide something.

    No, he didn’t.

    He said, from the very first, that there was no collusion. From the first day the TDS fever swamps started this to this day.

    So no.

    Like everything else lately, reason’s really fucking up on this.

    1. If you try and defend yourself, you are hiding something. Didn’t you know that?

    2. Not only were the accusations about him ‘credible’, he also ‘smirked’, and did it ineptly!

    3. Am I misreading the part of the report where Trump told a staffer to fire Mueller and the only reason it didn’t happen is the staffer threatened to resign?

      1. No, you didn’t miss the point where nothing, whatsoever, happened.

        You know why people have lawyers? To insure that what they want to do is legal.

    4. Yes, I’m new to this site (which I have been aware of for a long time), but I’m beginning to think I’m wasting time here and should unsubscribe.

  20. Or maybe Trump played the Democrats, as Obama did with the Birthers. always giving them hope that just one more revelation, and they could be rid of him.

    I don’t insist on the interpretation, mind, but the Democrats have expended a huge amount of energy on this dead end. Energy they might have directed more usefully on things that actually matter.

    I don’t necessarily think Trump is that clever, but it’s something to consider.

    1. Probably a bit of both. The Democrats went so nuts after the election, they really couldn’t walk back on this nonsense. Meanwhile, Trump knew he was innocent and clearly wanted the investigation stopped but politically was unable to do so.

      The end result of all this was the Democrats expending all of this energy on a dead end. So whether it was Trump’s plan or not, the result is the same.

    2. That’s why I think it may be a good thing for Trump that Muller left so many loose ends dangling in the obstruction part of the report. There’s plenty of fodder in there for Dems to use in wasting another two years screeching about Trump.

  21. What president isn’t guilty of arrogant stupidity?

  22. We know that the FBI obtained a warrant to do surveillance on his campaign under false pretenses. There were people on Mueller’s teams who were former FBI, and Mueller himself was the mentor of the FBI director, Comey, that was at the center of the investigation into his campaign. If Trump didn’t behave as if the FBI and Mueller were out to get him, at that point, there’d be something wrong with him. Call him paranoid, but what’s the appropriate way to act when the FBI is out to get you?

    1. He fought back with everything he had. He’s not afraid to win ugly. We need somebody like that to stand up to the wanna-be commissars.

      1. Just like we need somebody like Robert Kraft to stand up to the progressive coalition of prohibitionists, the #metoo mafia, the rabid, vicious sex trafficking is everywhere crazies, and their law enforcement losers.

        Unicorns, utopias, and sex-trafficking are less real than Michael Hihn’s sanity.

        1. Unicorns, utopias, and sex-trafficking are less real than Michael Hihn’s sanity.

          Ha! It’s funny because it’s not true.

  23. TL;DR – they couldn’t find any wrong doing but we still really, really hate him.

    #tds

  24. Dog Bites Man by Jacob Sullum

  25. “Trump fired Comey for refusing to publicly clear his name, ….”

    Very wrong, Rosenstein proffered/executed the termination of Comey and Rosenstein is no Trump toadie.

    Who is your druggist, I want some of what you are smoking.

  26. I spent 10 minutes reading this article hoping to find a balanced Libertarian view. I wasted my time.

  27. “The president heedlessly created the appearance that he was trying hard, though ineptly, to hide something.”
    It didn’t fool me. I just thought he was pissed.

    1. Me, too.

      And we hear so much about Trump “ordering” this person to do this and that person to do that. And then the people disobey the “authoritarian tyrant” and don’t do it. Maybe Trump is asking if they would do certain things, and they counsel him against some of those things. And then sometimes Trump yields, as sometimes he should, and those things do not get done.

      In his business life, Trump comes across as a grand vision type of CEO, but he surrounds himself with practical people who can get done what can realistically be done out of Trump’s vision. As president, he seems to be trying to operate in a similar manner, but the culture of interaction between president and advisors is much different in the government than in his private business.

  28. Seriously, why the fuck are you so salty Sullum? Goddamn, I don’t like Trump either but this just reeks of being a sore loser.

  29. Reason; making conspiracy theories great again!

  30. “Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect non-criminal personal interests, … or to avoid personal embarrassment,”
    Is it “just” to drag an innocent person through the court of public opinion? I don’t feel like it’s just. Obstructing what’s not “just” is not obstructing justice then. This has nothing to do with Trump, BTW. Imagine this happening to you.

    1. Yeah, that is kind of ridiculous.

      Imagine some bad actor… maybe a rogue prosecutor who has a personal beef with you… he gets an illegitimate subpoena and snatches your computer and phone. You do a remote wipe on your phone because you have naked pictures of you and your wife on the phone and you don’t want them in the hands of that dude…. or anyone else for that matter.
      Obstruction of justice? Or justice?

      Sure, you’d have a higher burden of proof on that one… but for the sake of argument suppose you could iron-clad prove actual innocence. I’d say that sort of process crime would be unjust under those circumstances.

  31. If Arrogant Stupidity was an impeachable offense, King Obama, Lord of the Drones and His Most Holy Keeper of The Secret Kill List, would have been impeached.

    1. Yea, it seems people have forgotten just how goddamn awful Chocolate Jesus was or how disgusting the media’s sycophancy got…

  32. Trump knows how to play chess and poker. He is a master at it. He fools many with his poker face and is indeed playing 4D chess. I wasn’t a Trump supporter until I dug deeply into the QAnon drops. I saw it as goofy initially. You need to find the cream but once you do, it is truly mind blowing. Lazy thinkers, arrogant bloviators and people with closed minds who allow headlines to think for them need not apply- you will not get it. I saw how Q was being mocked by every mainstream outlet but without giving any solid reasoning and decided to go check it out. I had to sift through a lot of junk knowing enough about human behaviors to know that even supporters of Q would be blindly following along and/or merely mimicking and none of that was good enough. I wanted solid info, solid proof that it was relevant and accurate. Eventually after a lot of researching I found the gold being a good prospector of information. I could do without the christian rhetoric that comes with some of it (this will turn quite a few off from considering but that’s ok it’s their loss) but after months of analyzing and observing many Q drops coming to pass, based in information only a person on the inside very close to POTUS or as many believe POTUS himself would know, I now get it. You think he is stupid which is exactly how he is playing it. You won’t believe he has any real power if you shrug him off. When he wins again in 2020 I will be celebrating and laughing. I never would have thought I would be a Trump supporter. Trump IS changing the game. Most people don’t even fathom the game. Trump is a patriot. His getting elected was the best thing to happen to the USA. Had HRC been elected we would be totally screwed done deal. America now has a chance in global hell. Two Q channels to learn from are ‘And we know’ and ‘we the people insider’. You like puzzles right??? Cryptology is fun. Especially when there are juicy rewards. Lazy minds won’t see it. Yeah you actually have to use your brain.

  33. Sullum, why do you beat your wife and children? I am calling the cops and CPS on you.

    Sullum responds, “I don’t beat my wife and kids and you shouldn’t call the cops.”

    Is Sullum guilty of obstruction of justice or just inept stupidity?

    This article highlights the worst parts of Reason.

  34. Trump may not have obstructed justice, but…(open subthread)

    1. …he sabotaged the USFL.
      …he’s all for eminent domain when he‘s trying to benefit by it.
      …he’s mean when he does good things.

      1. He puts ketchup on steaks!

  35. There are no laws against arrogance or stupidity.

  36. The Mueller probe was the capstone of the biggest crime in American history: an elaborate attempt by an outgoing administration to rig a presidential election, then failing that to overthrow the expressed electoral will of the people. Success in either of these objectives would have ended American democracy forever, and every bit of it was thoroughly illegal from beginning to end.

    Mueller’s two year effort to entrap Trump into an obstruction case (he knew almost immediately there was no collusion with Russia except on the part of Hillary, Steele, and our intelligence agencies) was an integral part of that gigantic crime and it was NOTHING BUT an integral part of that crime. There was not a shred of legitimacy to any part of it, and if justice is done the entire Obama-Hillary-Brennan-Clapper-McCabe-Rosenstein-Strzok-Page-Ohr-Mueller cabal will be put to death for treason.

    Given this criminal conspiracy against him Trump would absolutely have been justified in terminating the Mueller probe at its inception and the only thing he would have been obstructing is the crime of the century. He could not possibly be guilty of obstructing justice by stopping Mueller’s investigation because not only was there no underlying crime, there was no evidence of an underlying crime. Zero. It was all fake and the people involved knew that better than anyone. It was THEIR fake, and Mueller was in it up to his ears. He and McCabe and Rosenstein were the three DOJ/FBI people at the center of the original Russia conspiracy: Uranium One.

    No one has ever been more conflicted than Mueller. He had to keep Hillary’s crimes un-investigated in order to keep his own crimes un-investigated. He knew that the entire purpose of Hillary’s illegal email setup was so that she could use her position as secretary of state to sell the nation’s foreign policy to the highest bidder because he was with her at the center of her biggest sale: RUSSIAN control of 20% of our insufficient uranium supply in exchange for $145m + in RUSSIAN donations to the Clinton Family Slush Fund and cash payments Bill Clinton, and to abet her in this crime he had to shut down a fully developed case against Russian organized crime in America.

    Rosenstein was in the same boat. That’s why he appointed the criminal Mueller. To save his own skin Mueller would have to save Rosenstein’s skin. The purpose of the Mueller probe was not just to overthrow American democracy. It was also to prevent investigation of any of coup-conspirators’ crimes. Horowitz and Huber and the other IGs were under direct orders from Mueller that they were not to investigate any of the crimes committed by Hillary Clinton or by anyone involved in the coup attempt against Trump because such investigations might interfere with his own investigatory efforts.

    In an era of non-dysfunctional politics this coup attempt should absolutely have been shut down! Mueller was given TWO YEARS both to cover up the biggest crimes in American history and to continue them by trying to entrap the President, an effort that he COULD have succeeded at. All he needed was to get a five minute interview with Trump on any subject, declare that HE thought Trump was lying about something, regardless of how truthful Trump had actually been (the same as they did with Flynn) and he would have forwarded criminal charges as grounds for impeachment, to be filed in criminal court if and when impeachment took place.

    In the end Trump was careful enough not to give Mueller that criminal chance, but it apparently took a lot of convincing from his lawyers to get the innocent man to understand that he COULD NOT talk to the criminal Mueller. Basically they had to convince him that Mueller WAS (and is) a criminal, out to execute a coup.

    The only reason not to stop Mueller’s part of this criminal conspiracy is because the issue was not criminal liability but impeachment. Trump won the presidency not just over hysterical opposition from the Democrats but over equally hysterical opposition from the establishment Republican party. Inexplicably he also had to run against many conservatives who had also been opposed to the establishment party (the GOPe), like National Review, that suddenly turned full flaming leftist on him. And oh yes, the dweebs at Reason Magazine, like Jacob Sullum.

    The large number of Republicans eager to impeach Trump on any grounds, however dishonest, meant that Trump could not stop the criminal Mueller investigation, and now here is Sullum offering his advice that Trump should have just rolled over and not fought back even in the press against the crimes being committed against him. Well what do you know, Trump won that battle. Before the Muller report was issued more people believed Trump than believed the Democrats and Kristols and the Sullums.

    So it’s really annoying to see Sullum look back as from a vista point, casting the entire criminal Mueller probe as if it has been legitimate and Trump really could have been guilty of obstruction of justice by opposing it. No Jacob, you aren’t just down in the mud, you are at the bottom of the mud. You see and understand nothing.

    1. This is an example of what Reason should be publishing rather than the complete piece of crap it was commenting on.

  37. What’s needed is another fisa warrant. Let’s see, what could we base it on this time? Melania was sex trafficked through Russia to work at Trump Tower?

  38. Now that we have the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center, you too can be prosecuted for obstruction of justice.

  39. “Trump May Not Be Guilty of Obstruction, but He Is Guilty of Arrogant Stupidity”

    ‘Trump is a big poopyhead’ from one more pundit.
    Thank you for your bullshit.

    1. Oh, and Reason’s comment software still sucks, even after the facelift.

  40. Russian interfering in a US presidential election is a good yardstick to use to measure the stupidity and sheepleness of the American voter. To believe for a second that Americans make their deciding vote based on the last thing they read on social media is frightening to me. One thing I know for sure is Mexico still hasn’t paid for shit, ObamaCare is still alive and well, I didn’t see my piece of the “tax cut” pie this year, Americas that are far and beyond braver than the whining pricks that post on this site are not allowed to serve their country just because they don’t fit the sexual criteria that Mr. Bone Spur want and last but not least, America is still raging war and interfering in other countries governments abroad!

    1. It is valid to want more action on those issues. It’s too bad that the Democrat party and their media butt-monkeys spend so little time doing it. Oh, they’ll bring it up once in a while. But they won’t pursue it with the desperate fervor they attach to this dumb fucking Russia thing.

      1. Just the Democrats? Are you sure?

  41. If so then he is just the same as the average citizen. Obama was simply arrogant and treated his supporters as if they were stupid (they must have been).
    Enough with the grooming of candidates for office and tell the people to be Independent as intended. The new batch of candidates is is an unholy cluster-fuck of forked tongue devils not worthy of hell’s comforts.
    And reason.com is really scraping the bottom for dreck. Stop speaking as though you represent anyone other than yourself. Do these “writers” actually get paid for this tripe?

  42. So when Trump does not follow the advice of his advisors the left condemns him. When he follows their advice and does not end the illegal investigation the left condemns him.
    Lets get this perfectly straight. As head of the executive branch it was well within Trump’s power to sack Rosenstein and Mueller any time he wanted to and there is absolutely nothing congress or the judiciary could have done. The fact that he let the investigation run to it’s conclusion is testimony to the fact that he knew his innocence would eventually be borne out.
    This does not mean he did not have the right to slam the investigation and call it what it was, a witch hunt.
    Absolutely everything he stated about the investigation was true and it is the Dems and the disgusting media who have been shown to be part of the biggest lie of the century.
    Even with the report, Trump have the right to redact large parts of it, yet he decided not to before he even read it. He could refuse to let Mueller testify before congress using executive privilege but has decided not to. Trump have been incredibly transparent throughout.

  43. You are LYING.
    And everyone sees that you are LYING.
    LYING bullies that have harassed a democratically elected president because what the self-entitled media class wants is more important than what the voting public voted for.

    See comments for this article unmodified on Dissenter https://dissenter.com/discussion/begin?url=https://reason.com/2019/04/18/trump-may-not-be-guilty-of-obstruction-but-he-is-guilty-of-arrogant-stupidity/

  44. “If arrogant stupidity were a crime, Trump would be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    If writing pointless articles were a crime, Jacob Sullum would be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If eating pancakes in the nude were a crime, I’d be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    If non-crimes were crimes, we’d all be guilty of something.

    What the hell happened to Reason?

  45. Fucking “Reason” seriously your acting like a bunch of retards, the title of this article and the other one sound like butthurt leftards lamenting the fact they couldn’t get Trump, so now their being childish and stupid by going “Nah Nah Nah”. Seriously, when I looked at “Reason’s” email, I literally thought that CNN or MSNBC had sent me a e mail by mistake. This is the one of the “reasons” (see what I did there) I can’t take this “libertarian” magazine seriously anymore. Any and all leftard causes they seem to be picking up and carrying.

    1. I unsubscribed a few years ago.

  46. It’s articles like this that I have stopped reading Reason. Not a week goes by that Reason hasn’t strayed so far off the rational path that I wonder if it has been secretly been infiltrated by communists to undermine America. Did this writer just roll out of a threeway with Schiff and AOC?

    1. “I have stopped reading Reason.”

      That lie is Trump-worthy in so many ways:

      1) Easily disproved by contradicted by your very next sentence: “Not a week goes by..” So you are still reading Reason, but you’re too dumb to know that you just admitted to being a liar. Classic Trump.

      2) Petulant.

      3) Conspiracy theorizing.

      4) Vulgar.

      Trump poisons everything and everyone he touches.

  47. […] that Mr. Trump obstructed justice, there’s plenty of evidence of hubris: “Over and over again, he opened his mouth when he should have kept it shut, lied clumsily and […]

  48. […] that Mr. Trump obstructed justice, there’s plenty of evidence of hubris: “Over and over again, he opened his mouth when he should have kept it shut, lied clumsily and […]

  49. Arrogance and stupidity may not be behind his behavior. One must of course stipulate that he is arrogant and stupid, but he is also weirdly cunning, and I imagine he knows that the kind of behavior he engaged in inspires hysteria in the chattering classes, and that hysteria in turn enables him to arouse counter-hysteria in his base, who feel he is one of them because he is being derided and accused of dreadful things by the same people who deride and accuse them of dreadful things.

  50. Well, Mr. Sullum, when you take the presidency, you can try to do better than Trump when the combined forces of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and judiciary are after you.

    So far, Trump has actually been doing a better job than the last few presidents, mostly by doing less than they did. Easy as that may sound, it was apparently beyond the abilities of an intellectual giant like Obama.

  51. President Trump behaved as if he were an innocent man being persecuted by his political enemies. Which was exactly the case. With Mueller coming up empty after going full L. Beria, we can now say with no exaggeration that Trump is the cleanest President in modern history.

  52. He is guilty of obstructing the attempted coup.

  53. Democrats will be inclined to conclude that the amorphous standard for impeachment has been satisfied, while Republicans will say that Mueller’s decision not to reach a firm conclusion about the criminality of the president’s conduct amounts to an exoneration.

    And libertarians, well, we know where they stand.*

    *Hint: Pantone 159

  54. […] “Trump May Not Be Guilty of Obstruction, but He Is Guilty of Arrogant Stupidity,” by Jacob Sullum […]

  55. […] 448-page report released last week by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller (my colleagues have noted many of the most important details already), but one of the most under-appreciated might be just how […]

  56. Underlying this episode is the uncomfortable fact that the Justice Department can turn ANYTHING into obstruction of justice – even declaring your innocence. I’m not saying this to defend Trump, but many people have served time for “obstructing” an investigation into a fictitious crime. That’s the scariest part of this whole thing. If he weren’t President, I guarantee he would be indicted.

  57. […] proof that Mr. Trump obstructed justice, there’s loads of proof of hubris: “Over and over, he opened his mouth when he should have kept it shut, lied clumsily and […]

  58. […] proof that Mr. Trump obstructed justice, there’s hundreds of proof of hubris: “Many conditions, he opened his mouth when he must accrued to find kept it shut, lied clumsily and […]

  59. […] of “corrupt intent” to prosecute for obstruction, in part because much of it “occurred in public view.” Utah Senator Mitt Romney broadcast how disgusted he was at the “extent…of […]

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